RolePlay onLine RPoL Logo

, welcome to The Fellowship of the Wolf - [TOR2e] - Revivified!

18:47, 19th April 2024 (GMT+0)

Prologue I - The Dark Vigil - Wulferd - Year 2946 -

Posted by LoreMasterFor group archive U
LoreMaster
GM, 4 posts
Sat 10 Aug 2013
at 00:38
  • msg #1

Prologue I - The Dark Vigil - Wulferd - Year 2946 -

This is Wulferd's Tale leading up to Chapter 1...
This message was last updated by the GM at 00:45, Sat 10 Aug 2013.
LoreMaster
GM, 11 posts
Sat 10 Aug 2013
at 01:04
  • msg #2

Re: Prologue I - The Dark Vigil - Wulferd - Year 2946 -

The owl was roosted on a ceiling beam. It stared at him unblinking for a dozen minutes before it finally bobbed it's head at Wulferd. The torches had burned low in the early morning hours and Beorn's hall was silent save for the crackle of the fireplaces and the sudden questioning of the dusky feathered sentinel, "Whooo-ooo?".

~~~~

The trip back from Laketown had been hurried. Wulferd and his woodman friend, Berangar, had been asked to take correspondence back to their people regarding the upcoming Gathering. They had been thanked heartily by the Dwarven emissary, Glóin, who had been extremely grateful to them and their unlikely companion Oddilfarr for their recovery of Balin and Óin from their captivity with the Marshdwellers. He had rewarded them with a princely treasure and, even more valuable, his trust.

Oddilfarr had been asked by the Master of Laketown to undertake a very... particular mission for him. Neither Wulferd nor Berangar had been given any details and Oddilfarr had left almost immediately. Before leaving however, he'd given each of them a small token with which they could identify themselves as his friend and send a message that he would know was from one of them. Wulferd's, a silver bear carved with dwarven precision from a coin, hung presently around his neck.

Wulferd and Berangar had parted ways at the western edge of Mirkwood, having been escorted by a half dozen Elves along the elf-path. The trip had been almost disappointingly uneventful. They had moved quickly. The Elves had bade them farewell and turned back for Elvenhall. Wulferd and Berangar then parted ways and returned to their respective homelands. After having pushed so hard, all Wulferd wanted to do was sleep, but upon arriving at Beorn's hall he'd been given a summons. Evidently Beorn knew he was coming...

~~~~

"Whooo-ooooo?" asked the owl again for the tenth time.

Wulferd looked around him nervously to see if anyone was watching him and when he assured himself the hall was empty he smiled and answered the owl, "Wulferd, known as Shadowbane..."

The owl only stared at him. "Who?" it asked as it tilted its head to one side. Wulferd chuckled aloud at that. It was almost as if the owl really could talk for there was almost inflection in the word.

"My name is Wulferd, I was summoned to Beorn's hall on a matter of urgency," Wulferd related to the large bird. He was glad there was no one in the hall to see him conversing with an owl. Although he was raised among a people influenced by the not-so-subtle mysteries of Beorn, the youthful wanderer still found it unlikely the owl really knew what it was saying. He decided to test the bird. "When will Beorn see me?" he asked the owl with his tongue planted firmly in cheek.

He almost swallowed his tongue when the owl blinked his big yellow eyes and said, "Soooo-ooon!"

Just then there was a scraping sound as a side door to the hall opened up and in lumbered one of the largest men Wulferd had ever seen. Beorn was more Bear-like than Man-like these days and since the Battle of Five Armies had been out more and more frequently. His face was grim. He strode up to Wulferd and extended a huge paw-like hand. They grasped forearms and Beorn bade the young man to sit.
Beorn
NPC, 1 post
Skin-changer, Great Bear
Leader of the Beornings
Sat 10 Aug 2013
at 01:14
  • msg #3

Re: Prologue I - The Dark Vigil - Wulferd - Year 2946 -

"Thank you for coming so quickly. I have had ill-tidings this night from many fronts. Your post at Lionclaw Pass is an important one, but before you return there I have another assignment for you." Beorn scratched behind his ear absently as he warmed himself by the hall's central fireplace. "A few hours ago we had a runner come in saying that the lookout at Northwatch had been attacked and the sentries there were dead. I just returned from the outpost over by Icy Creek and saw the same thing. I expect another attack here and I must see to my people. I need you to travel as quickly, and as carefully, as you are able, east to the outpost on Wing Ridge. See if anything is amiss. If so, return for reinforcements from the villages, if not warn them of what's happened and go on to the next outpost with the same message."
Wulferd Shadowbane
NPC, 1 post
Sat 10 Aug 2013
at 01:19
  • msg #4

Re: Prologue I - The Dark Vigil - Wulferd - Year 2946 -

Wulferd nodded his head gravely and asked, "Did you see any sign of who or what attacked?"
Beorn
NPC, 2 posts
Skin-changer, Great Bear
Leader of the Beornings
Sat 10 Aug 2013
at 01:21
  • msg #5

Re: Prologue I - The Dark Vigil - Wulferd - Year 2946 -

"Yes," answered Beorn, "it was orcs and goblins and many wolves! Their numbers must be back up since the thrashing we gave them at Erebor." Beorn then pulled an object from a pouch at his side and handed it to Wulferd. "There was one more thing I found interesting. It's the mark of Khelek-carak as the Elves used to call him... Icefang."
LoreMaster
GM, 12 posts
Sat 10 Aug 2013
at 01:24
  • msg #6

Re: Prologue I - The Dark Vigil - Wulferd - Year 2946 -

When Wulferd touched the object handed to him by Beorn a brief chill passed through him...

OOC: Wulferd may attempt a Lore roll (TN 12) or invoke a trait to recognize the mark's significance without showing ignorance before Beorn.
Wulferd Shadowbane
NPC, 2 posts
Sat 10 Aug 2013
at 01:26
  • msg #7

Re: Prologue I - The Dark Vigil - Wulferd - Year 2946 -

Though Wulferd was a proven man, he could scarcely make himself speak to Beorn. He paused for a moment to consider his response, for he had to collect his thoughts before considering his response.

OOC: Lore Roll - 12 (Feat: 6, Skill: 6) - Great Success!

I would also like to invoke the trait Anduin Lore if applicable for an advancement point.

LoreMaster
GM, 13 posts
Thu 5 Sep 2013
at 06:26
  • msg #8

Re: Prologue I - The Dark Vigil - Wulferd - Year 2946 -

During the winter months on the Eastern slopes of the Misty Mountains the fires would burn in the evenings and the children would gather around and listen to the witch tales or the sung ballads of the occasional traveling minstrel. The stories were sometimes funny, sometimes somber and, when the children had been unruly or simply too rowdy to stay in their beds, sometimes frightening. The tellers of the tales never let on to the children that they were being taught, for that might have caused their attention to wander. The telling of tales among the People of Beorn was their way of making sure lessons were passed on from those characters with whom the children laughed at, cried about or screamed with...

One such tale was one that Wulferd remembered way back to his fourth or fifth winter. With each new telling he was both excited and terrified because the older he grew, the more he realized the tale was true. This tale was of the ghost of the timbered passes. This tale was of the trail of broken, bloody bodies that followed in its wake through the snow. This tale was of the cunning and craftiness of a creature of Old. This tale was the tale of death and suffering. This tale was one that had few heroes and many victims. This tale was of Icefang.

As Wulferd sat in the darkness of Beorn's Hall with the crackling fires burned low in the fireplaces and the silence of night all around, he could not help but feel some of those same dread feelings he had as a child. He was an adult now, though young, and fireside tales were often more real now than when he was younger. A shiver of fear ran up his spine as he recalled the stories of old. If what his leader was saying was true, and Beorn seemed to be speaking in all solemnity, then an old tale was now coming to life.

The tales began a long way back. The Beast-lore had been sung for generations. Wulfered recalled the last lines in a rhyme-story told by a wandering old vagabond years ago. He spoke of the last appearance of Icefang on the Eastern slopes and the tragedy that befell the peoples who fought against him.

The rhyme related that Icefang had crossed the River during the Long Winter when Wolves great and terrible attacked and butchered entire selttlements, driven by hunger and disease to have no fear of Man or Elf. Fell beasts came with them and orcs and goblins too. The peoples were weakened by the cold, hunger and sickness themselves and so it was that their defenses faltered. One by one villages and settlements, outposts and camps fell to the roving packs that winter. This would have been bad enough as it was, but even more sinister was that these packs were led, held together and compelled by a leader. That leader was the werewolf Icefang.

~~~~

The water frozen iced and cold,
the beasts and goblins roamed and killed.
The Wolves and orcs with hunger bold,
did chase their prey and blood was spilled.

When from the mist their leader howled,
his white fur soaked with blood and death.
Men with spears in the darkness cowed,
While Icefang growled with steaming breath.

From on the ice a spearman called,
His voice was bold, his spear-arm strong.
Icefang and pack around him walled,
the gory feast would start ere long.

The spearman challenged Icefang come,
upon the ice to die alone.
His war-cry rang of friends and home.
The fell beast came, his red eyes shone.

The werewolf sprang across the ice,
his gruesome pack in blood-lust wailed.
But as he came the spearman sliced,
and Icefang's frozen landing failed.

The spearman lunged to make the kill,
His spear-arm drove through hide and bone.
The werewolf fought with savage will,
strong jaws silenced the spearman's moan.

Yet on the ice a crack then boomed,
and spreading under beast it grew,
until into icy depths entombed,
the ice broke free, the beast fell through.

The spearman's name we'll never know,
but on the darkest mountain night,
we'll see red eyes in darkness glow,
and a werewolf's howl sends men afright.

~~~~


So it was told that Icefang had perished in the frozen river, but scenes of grizzly death on the high passes and wolf-prints the size of a man's shield seemed to indicate otherwise. Beorn's people had not been molested by the likes of Icefang in recent years, but that could have more to do with the presence of the Great Bear than anything else.

Wulfered shuddered to think what this might mean. Could the creature have survived the fall into the river? Could it have gathered a new pack and returned all these years later bent this time on revenge instead of driven by hunger? He tried not to shudder and mostly succeeded.

OOC: Yes, that's worth an AP in Vocation. Nicely done. I would say Beast-lore might be more applicable than Anduin-lore, but the stories are fairly well known as Icefang ravaged not only the Beornings, but the Woodmen and Elves of Northern Mirkwood at various times during the Second and Third Ages.

The mark shown you by Beorn is of a wolf skull with one bloody fang. This is crudely scratched on a wooden chit. You now have the token in your posession.

Wulferd Shadowbane
NPC, 3 posts
Thu 5 Sep 2013
at 06:27
  • msg #9

Re: Prologue I - The Dark Vigil - Wulferd - Year 2946 -

"So an evil of the Elder Days now leads our enemies, or do they think to make us flinch at the shadows of the past? It matters not. I will depart at once, and return to you as swiftly as I am able, my lord."
Beorn
NPC, 3 posts
Skin-changer, Great Bear
Leader of the Beornings
Thu 5 Sep 2013
at 06:30
  • msg #10

Re: Prologue I - The Dark Vigil - Wulferd - Year 2946 -

"I could not say if he still makes snowy tracks or not, there is much evidence to suggest he might. For now though I think it well to flinch, if only a little. Until we know more..." Beorn seemed to focus on something very distant for a few heartbeats. His eyes fixed above the low flames in his hall. "Go swiftly and take heed Brother to Bears, for there is indeed a strange scent in the air."

With that he raised his arm and the owl flew from the rafter and landed lightly there. Beorn made a series of coooes and clicks with his mouth and the owl nodded enthusiastically. With a gentle boost he sent the bird aloft and it exited through an opening on one end of the hall's log walls.

"If you return and I am not here, please make your report to Grimbeorn the Gaunt. He will know how to reach me. He should be returning from Oak Hill any time now and has gathered something of the lore of Icefang"
LoreMaster
GM, 14 posts
Thu 5 Sep 2013
at 06:31
  • msg #11

Re: Prologue I - The Dark Vigil - Wulferd - Year 2946 -

Without even a nod or goodbye, Beorn then exits the hall.

Wing Ridge lies a day's walk to the east of Beorn's Hall. It is now just before daybreak and you should make it there by dusk if you hurry but are careful along the way. If there is anything you need to do while you are here, do so, if not make a Travel Roll, TN12 (you are familiar with the area)
Wulferd Shadowbane
NPC, 4 posts
Thu 5 Sep 2013
at 06:32
  • msg #12

Re: Prologue I - The Dark Vigil - Wulferd - Year 2946 -

Wulferd began his journey that same hour and traveled, as Beorn instructed, as swiftly as possible, but not without a little caution. As he walked, his thoughts traveled their own paths. Imagine! He might even face Khelek-carak himself in the coming days! The idea of becoming a great hero of legend, the man who killed the fabled terror, captivated his imagination as he journeyed.

OOC: Travel role - Feat: 1, Skill: 5 - Eye of Sauron! (Croikey!)
LoreMaster
GM, 15 posts
Thu 5 Sep 2013
at 06:33
  • msg #13

Re: Prologue I - The Dark Vigil - Wulferd - Year 2946 -

Wulferd travels quickly down paths long remembered from his youth. The early morning mist rises and swirls and the smells of home bring a smile to his face. The sun rises and the shadows of the trees and rocks seem to come alive as they draw back from the bright orb. This is going to be a warm spring day!

As the sun continues to rise, the dew and moisture in the meadows and openings begins to coalesce into a low fog. The fog thickens until suddenly Wulferd tears himself from the dream-land of legend slaying he's been in and finds himself in the middle of a thick morning haze. There is no breeze and the mist is so thick he feels he almost needs to use his dagger to cut his way through it.

With a bit of a shock Wulferd looks down to realize he is no longer on the familiar path. Then he remembers... in his efforts to get to Wing Ridge he took a small shortcut just a ways back. Now he is really faced with a difficult situation, does he turn back and find the path or keep going? Or perhaps just sit still and wait for the fog to lift?

Cursing himself for a fool he ponders his next action. If he gets turned around in the fog he may end up having to backtrack miles or stumble across some element of danger. On the other hand he may lose an entire day or more waiting for the fog to lift! He knows of Beorn's urgency and appointing him this task, likely due to his familiarity with the area. Wulferd looks up and realizes that not only has he lost his way, less than a day's walk from Beorn's Hall, but he's also lost his reference of time as the glow of the sun has been entirely obscured by the dense mists around him.

So you need to make a decision to turn back, stay put or journey onward. Your best guess is that you're not quite halfway to Wing Ridge, but you don't have much confidence in that guess. You are in a rolling, lightly-forested, hilly area with frequent rock outcroppings, washes and gullies. Beorn and his warriors have done their best to eliminate threats this close to his hall, but in the mists like these clever predators from deep in the shadows sometimes hunt. You find yourself in a tough situation.
Wulferd Shadowbane
NPC, 5 posts
Thu 5 Sep 2013
at 06:34
  • msg #14

Re: Prologue I - The Dark Vigil - Wulferd - Year 2946 -

Wulferd thought furiously as he paused. Since he had only just taken the shortcut, it would make sense to try and turn back, but what if he just started going in circles? He turned around and studied the features of the land that he had passed by and tried to orient himself. He knew these lands well, and he soon arrived at what he was fairly certain was the correct direction to get back on the main trail. Then, he sighted a tree that was almost exactly in the direction he wished to travel, and he began to walk toward it, identifying as he went another landmark on his path back to the trail. After reaching the second landmark, he turned and identified the tree he had stood at previously and ensured he going in the right direction, before hurrying on again, this time to a rock outcropping in his path. In this manner Wulferd traveled back, counting his steps as he went to ensure he did not travel to far if he were going in the wrong direction.

OOC: I would like to invoke my trait Anduin Lore to find the correct direction back to the trail if I may.
LoreMaster
GM, 16 posts
Thu 5 Sep 2013
at 06:36
  • msg #15

Re: Prologue I - The Dark Vigil - Wulferd - Year 2946 -

It is dizzying work, lost in the mist and trying to stay calm, paying the utmost attention to every detail but fighting the natural instinct of tunnel vision. Is it just his imagination or has the ambient light gotten dimmer? If the latter, is it because sunset approaches or has the fog simply grown thicker? Wulferd's mind races. He tries to remember every trick to backtracking that he's ever been taught and his mind seems to make up a few he hasn't. Just when the panic he's so carefully kept on the fringes threatens to break its mental bindings and flare to life, the Beorning lad recognizes a landmark!

There in a clearing, along a trail he's been trying not to particularly follow in case it was wrong, sits a large round stone half submerged in the early spring grass. From his initial vantage it looks like the hundreds of others he's passed in the duration of his attempt to un-lose himself. As he passes however, Wulferd recognizes the etchings of a weathered face carved into the stone's opposite side...

Vagner's Glen this place is called. It is not named for some hero of antiquity but rather a successful hunter about Wulferd's grandfather's age. He would come to this area and sit quietly waiting for a stag or covey to graze. This was one of many sites the hunter used to frequent, but is one that is special to Wulferd.

Once Vagner had taken Wulferd hunting as a boy. They'd come to this very spot and spent the better part of the day sitting just as quietly as they could. (Wulferd remembers how he had tried to fight boredom almost as much as he is fighting panic now.) Finally a large stag had entered the clearing and Vagner had motioned to the boy to take the shot. Nervously he fitted the arrow and loosed it. By some bit of magic it seemed, the arrow flew true and the stag dropped not ten paces from where he'd been struck! Vagner had been very impressed and had sung the deed around the cooking fires that night after their return.

The bad news is that Wulferd has been traveling in exactly the opposite direction he thought he had been going in. The good news is that he is actually much further along on his journey than he dared to hope. His destination, the Wing Ridge Lookout, is not far off now. The other realization is that in order to have accidentally arrived at this location he must have burned much of the day. The dimming of the fog around him now means that indeed the day is coming to its end.

The fog does not seem to bother the Beorning now as it had before. He is confident in his direction and moves along quickly and quietly, not wanting a nasty surprise. He also keeps his mind focused on his task instead of the ballads that might be sung in his honor one day.

Describe any details of tactics you might take as you approach your destination. A successful Hunting roll might be useful here. Oh, and take yourself an AP in Survival, that was a good description, and I tried to add something Anduin-Loreish for ya!
Wulferd Shadowbane
NPC, 6 posts
Thu 5 Sep 2013
at 06:39
  • msg #16

Re: Prologue I - The Dark Vigil - Wulferd - Year 2946 -

As Wulferd drew near to Wing Ridge Lookout, He began to feel apprehensive. Fearing that his delay allowed the lookout to be destroyed as those before it, and thinking that enemies may well be around, whether they hoped to attack soon or had just left off their ransacking, he moved softly and slowly, as he might while stalking a hart or a wolf.

At least one good thing came of his getting lost. As the day was drew to an end, the forest grew clearer to Wulferd's eyes and the sounds of the evening came sharper to his ears, for Wulferd was a brother to the bears, more deadly at night than in daylight, and blessed with more than human endurance.

Wulferd was nearly to the lookout when he readied his spear and paused to take a final look around himself before he pressed on.

OOC: Awarness roll: Feat - 10, Skill - 3, 4, 6, + 6 (Brother to Bears attribute bonus), Total: 29 and great success.

Hunting roll: Feat - 10, Skill - 2, 1, 4, Total: 17

LoreMaster
GM, 17 posts
Thu 5 Sep 2013
at 06:41
  • msg #17

Re: Prologue I - The Dark Vigil - Wulferd - Year 2946 -

The mists surrounding Wulferd began to shift almost as if nature were letting out her breath slowly. Wulferd knew that sounds were amplified in these conditions and yet the silence was unnerving. As he carefully made his way ever closer to the lookout the darkness around him grew, the sun finally sinking to its rest somewhere beyond the fog. Wulferd expected to see some torches through the gloom. There were none.

Then he heard it... not so much with his ears, but with some inner sense, something primal within. The swirling mists made it hard to pinpoint the exact direction, but the moaning was not a figment of his imagination. With little other option at this point he edged his way closer to the compound. The sudden appearance of the wooden pole-walls surprised him a little.

He crept his way around until he neared the gate, weapons at the ready. The moaning grew louder as he made his approach. His heightened nighttime senses were stretched to their limits. He poked his head carefully around the open frame of the gate to take a peek. He could make out shapes on the hard packed ground within the compound. The moaning was coming from the far side.

Wulfered carefully entered the gate made of hewn pine poles with spikes sharpened on their tips. Directly in front of him was one of the shapes. He nudged it with his foot but it did not move. He leaned down to examine it and his nostrils caught a foul odor. He knew in an instant what the shape was without having to touch it... a dead goblin.

The Beorning stepped over the body and made his way toward the moaning sound, a sickening feeling growing in his gut. Finally he approached a body that was rested back up against the base of the lookout tower supports. A low moan escaped its lips. Wulferd leaned down and confirmed it was not an orc nor a goblin, but indeed one of his Beorning kinsmen.

"Easy brother," whispered Wulferd to the dying man, "can you speak?"

Rapidly, Wulferd worked in the deepening gloom, trying his healing skill as best he could. He dared not light a torch just yet until he was sure the enemy was either dead or gone. The wounded man moaned weakly and coughed. A dark fluid dribbled down his chin. Wulferd recognized the smell. It was blood. The man took a shuddering breath and tried to speak.

"...gone... *cough* ...dead... ...came back... ...capture..." he uttered brokenly. Wulferd suspected the man was in serious shock, that his body was only living through will power alone with the single purpose to pass on the message of what happened. "...big... ...too big... ...out of the *cough* fog... ...went to wa... *unintelligible* ...Beorn... ...go, must go..."

A fit of coughing came over him then. Wulferd realized that the man was drowning in his own blood. Sadly he also realized that there was nothing his meager healing training could do for this man. The dying man thrust his hand towards Wulferd's chest, coughing and moaning a little before a final gurgle indicated his death. The arm and hand went slack and something fell into Wulferd's lap.

Just then from somewhere far into the darkness a mournful cry broke the air. It was one of the most chilling sounds Wulferd had ever heard in his life. It was coming from the direction he must have passed through coming here. Now a wolf pack had his scent...

Outstanding Awareness roll! Take a Perception AP for that one! You notice now that the only Beorning body in the compound is the man who just died in your arms. The other shapes on the ground are mostly goblins, a few orcs and one youngish wolf. It is difficult to tell in the darkness, but certain marks lead you to think that something(s) were dragged.

The wolf pack is a ways off from the sounds in the fog. You think there might be a good chance you could slip away if you were careful and hopefully the blood in this area might confuse them if they track you this far.

The item dropped into your lap is a leather-bound bundle tied with rawhide. It is sticky with blood. You realize you don't have time to bury the dead Beorning, but you don't want to leave his body to be eaten by wolves either.

You should decide if you want to stick around and wait for the wolves to find you or if you should make tracks out of here before they come.

Wulferd Shadowbane
NPC, 7 posts
Thu 5 Sep 2013
at 06:42
  • msg #18

Re: Prologue I - The Dark Vigil - Wulferd - Year 2946 -

Despite the growing danger, Wulferd could not help but to feel guilt about his tardiness, perhaps he had not lost his way he might have been able to save some of these men, or at least die among them in honor. He cast about for some indication of how long it had been since the lookouts doom had fallen. He went to a goblin corpse and examined the blood about it and tested its limbs. After he knew what time had elapsed since the attack, he stopped for a second to consider what he might do. It seemed that the goblins had taken prisoners, and Wulferd desired nothing more to go to their rescue before they beyond his ability to help. The fact that he might well be overpowered by the party that had so easily laid the lookout to waste did not sway his desire or intentions. Beorn had instructed him to gather reinforcements from the village, but in this misty darkness other men would be helpless without light. Whatever choice he made he would have to do what he could on his own.

Wulferd's memory sparked and he remembered the words Beorn had spoken to him, telling him that an attack could well fall on the Hall of Beorn himself. Wulferd whished mightily that he could go to the defense of the great Hall. Those who had been taken from the lookout were powerless, and if Wulferd left them to their fate they would surely die, while those at the Hall were warned, and Beorn himself watched over them.

As his duty became clearer, Wulferd's resolve hardened. He began to circle about, searching for the tracks of the party of goblins, seeking to know their direction, their numbers, and whether any wolfs were in their company.

He soon found the tracks he was searching for and began to hurry after them. But he stopped short. He still had the bundle in his hand and decided to examine the contents before he began his departure.

OOC: Hunting Role (to be able to follow the attackers) Feat - 4, Skill - 5, 1, 6. Great success!
LoreMaster
GM, 18 posts
Thu 5 Sep 2013
at 06:43
  • msg #19

Re: Prologue I - The Dark Vigil - Wulferd - Year 2946 -

Your best guess is that the battle was fought just as darkness was beginning to fall. You have not missed the battle by more than an hour.

You hastily untie the bundle and remove the rawhide tie and worn deerskin wrapping. Inside you find some sort of small bound tome which seems to be in good condition. It is difficult to determine much else in the gloom and impossible to make out any further details without light.


Wulferd scoured around in the darkness for sign of the attackers around the small outpost, wary of the fog and darkness and what was prowling therein. He criss-crossed and backtracked and circled some more trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together as he had been trained as a child.

He surmised that the outpost had been attacked by some ten to fifteen goblins. He found tracks in the damp earth of at least three different wolves and chillingly there were two sets of what appeared to be orc tracks! They were off to one side and to the rear of the main attack angle and did not appear to have moved much, as if they had been overlooking the attack. One set was smaller than the other, but easily as large as Wulferd's own foot!

The other odd thing he found was the drag marks of what were likely the bodies the outpost's defenders. There were some bloody imprints mingled among them that would indicate one or more was wounded.

If you choose, you could easily follow the trail of the goblins and the dragged bodies even in the dark fog, they made no effort to hide their presence. The wolf tracks split up and go different directions into the surrounding area. The orc tracks appear among those of the goblins off and on in the same direction...

Suddenly, far off in the fog there was a high pitched whistle, followed by a return bay of one of the wolves. A chill went up Wulferd's spine as he realized how close the sound was and how quickly the creature had closed the distance from where he'd thought that he'd first heard the sound.

He gripped his weapon tightly for a few breathless moments until he heard the bay again, moving away from him. His fear did not lessen however, because he soon realized the direction the wolves were heading... toward the next outpost!
Sign In